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A mess on Everest

Garbage in Everest high camp

“Damn it! What a mess,” I cursed this morning as I rode my bike to work after the sunny weekend. “Are these peoples’ brains turned off?” The path was paved with plastic cups, fast food packaging, barbecue trays and shards of broken beer bottles. It looked similar, albeit with other, sometimes even less appetizing ingredients, after this spring season in the high camps on Mount Everest. Even bags with faeces were lying around. The Mexican climber David Liano Gonzalez documented this mess with pictures. “I’ve been a part of ‚Eco Everest Expeditions‘ for ten years. We have brought down more than ten tons of trash. I carry down my own poop on special bags,” the 38-year-old, who scaled the highest mountain on earth for the seventh time this year, writes to me. “I try to leave the mountain cleaner than I found it. But with so many people, no oversight and no mountain ethics, the problem is out of control.”

Date

11. June 2018 | 15:55

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Everest/Makalu: Clarifications

South side of Mount Everest

The fog is clearing. The climbers mentioned in my last blog post have spoken. For days, the false report had been tenacious that Tenjing (mostly called “Tenji”) Sherpa and Lakpa Dendi Sherpa were the only mountaineers this season to climb Everest without bottled oxygen. “I think the confusion arose because Sherpa Dendi radio ahead of us on the summit to say we had all made it,” Jon Griffith, Tenjing’s British rope partner, wrote in a comment to my article on Facebook. “Given that Tenji was attempting a no O2 climb and given that radio comms is pretty poor from the summit I suspect that Base Camp assumed that he had climbed without O2 and hence the rumour spread.”

Date

5. June 2018 | 14:05

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No Everest ascents without bottled oxygen after all

Everest (l.) in the first daylight

Actually, it’s quite simple. An Everest summit success without bottled oxygen means that the climber did not use a breathing mask. And that’s exactly why the only two alleged climbs without bottled oxygen reported this spring season from the highest mountain on earth were indeed only summit successes, but nothing more! The German mountaineer and journalist Billi Bierling, head of the chronicle “Himalayan Database”, informed me today that on 24 May Tenjing Sherpa (often also called “Tenji”) had used bottled oxygen from the South Summit at 8,750 meters, 100 meters below the main summit. It had been windy, the 26-year-old had not wanted to risk frostbite, Billi said after the debriefing with Tenji and his British climbing partner Jon Griffith. The chronicler informed me that Lakpa Dendi Sherpa had used a breathing mask even above the South Col, at nearly 8,000 meters.

Date

1. June 2018 | 14:24

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Hillary Step, last take!

The spot formerly known as Hillary Step

I vow to stop writing about the Hillary Step after this blog post. Because where nothing is, nothing has to be reported. “It is 100 percent that Hillary step is gone,” Mingma Gyalje Sherpa, expedition leader of the Nepalese operator “Imagine”, writes to me. On 14 May, the 32-year-old had climbed to a point between the South Summit (at 8,750 meters) and the former Hillary Step (8,790 meters), where he had waited for hours for the return of his summit team and thus had plenty of time, to take a close look at the spot. On the Hillary Step, says Mingma, “no more debate is required further in future”. No matter what the Nepalese Ministry of Tourism is saying. Before this spring’s season, the authority had actually subpoenally obligated all climbers not to make any statement about the Hillary Step to the media.

Date

29. May 2018 | 15:14

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Success on Everest and Lhotse w/o O2, three 8000ers in 25 days

Tenjing Sherpa climbing Everest

The good weather window in the Himalayas is impressively long. Since this spring’s first ascent of Mount Everest on 13 May by the Sherpa team that had fixed the ropes up to the summit on the south side of the mountain, climbers have reached the highest point at 8,850 meters day after day. Several hundred summit successes have since been counted. Today, Tenjing Sherpa also succeeded, without bottled oxygen. The 26-year-old wants to climb directly afterwards the neighboring eight-thousander Lhotse, if conditions allow it. According to Iswari Poudel, managing director of the expedition organizer “Himalayan Guides”, Lakpa Dendi Sherpa, just like Tenjing, reached the summit without breathing mask today. It was already Lakpa’s third (!) Everest ascent this season, Poudel said.

Date

24. May 2018 | 14:02

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Everest and Lhotse within 24 hours

Tendi Sherpa on Lhotse

The fast double pack connecting the highest and the fourth highest mountain on earth becomes more and more popular. This spring season, several climbers scaled the 8,516-meter high Lhotse, after they had been on the 8,850-meter-high summit of Mount Everest a day earlier. The new “Seven Summits” record holder Steve Plain from Australia and Brit Jon Gupta started the line on 14/15 May (see the video below). The Nepalese expedition leader Tendi Sherpa and US climber Mat Wood managed the feat on 18/19 May. Finally, on Sunday/Monday, the American Matt Moniz and his Argentinian mentor Willie Benegas followed.

Date

22. May 2018 | 14:50

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Nobukazu Kuriki died on Everest

Nobukazu Kuriki (1982 -2018)

The Japanese climber Nobukazu Kuriki has been found dead today on Mount Everest. The 35-year-old had reported yesterday from Camp 3 at 7,400 meters via Facebook. It was hard, said Kuriki, assuring he would be careful. This morning, his team informed that Nobukazu was in bad shape and that he was descending. Later, he did not respond to radio calls. His camera crew climbed up and found Kuriki lifeless near Camp 2.

Date

21. May 2018 | 18:14

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Moniz/Benegaz: Everest summit success after all

Willie Benegas (l.) and Matt Moniz (r.)

All’s well that ends well. Today, 20-year-old American Matt Moniz and his mentor, 49-year-old Argentine Willie Benegas, reached the 8,850-meter summit of Mount Everest. “0459 Summit! We’re on top of the world,” Matt tweeted. On Wednesday, the two climbers also want to scale neighboring Lhotse (8,516 m) , the fourth highest mountain on earth. As reported, the Nepalese Ministry of Tourism had considered revoking Moniz’ and Benegas’ climbing permits. The reason: They had skied down the Lhotse flank during an acclimatization climb – without having a so-called “ski permit”. However, only a few knew about the existence of such a special permit. After about 150 Climbing Sherpas had campaigned for Matt and Willie in an open letter to the Ministry of Tourism for Matt and Willie, the people in charge gave in talking about a “very innocent mistake”. The way for today’s Everest summit attempt was free.

Date

20. May 2018 | 17:51

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Thomas Lämmle successful on Makalu

Thomas Lämmle on top of Makalu

Persistence pays off. The German high altitude climber Thomas Lämmle reached, as he wrote on Facebook yesterday, on last Sunday the 8,485 meter high summit of Makalu, the fifth highest mountain on earth. The 52-year-old from the city of Waldburg in Baden-Württemberg climbed without bottled oxygen and Sherpa support. Last year, Thomas had returned empty-handed from Makalu after four summit attempts, all of which had failed due to bad weather. Now, according to his own words, he also wants to tackle Lhotse, the fourth highest mountain in the world, “before the snowfall – means May 21st”. Makalu was Lämmle’s sixth eight-thousander after Cho Oyu (in 2003), Gasherbrum II (in 2005 and 2013), Manaslu (in 2008), Shishapangma (in 2013) and Mount Everest (in 2016).

Date

18. May 2018 | 11:53

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8000er summit successes and a death on Makalu

Tibetan north side of Everest

Now, also from the Tibetan north side, the first climbers out of commercial teams have scaled Mount Everest. Swiss expedition leader Kari Kobler reported that three of his clients reached the highest point at 8,850 meters today. On Monday, the team responsible for fixing the ropes via the Northeast Ridge to the summit, had finished their work. This had already happened a day earlier on the Nepalese south side. On Monday about 50 mountaineers had climbed to the highest point on the southern route. Among them was the Australian Steve Plain. The 36-year-old set a new time record for climbing the Seven Summits, the highest mountains of all continents.

Date

15. May 2018 | 15:52

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Double amputee from China on top of Everest

Xia auf der Everest-Südseite

In the fifth attempt, Xia Boyu made it. As Mingma Gyalje Sherpa, expedition leader and head of the Nepalese operator “Imagine Trek and Expedition”, wrote on Facebook, the 69-year-old Chinese was among 14 members of his team, who today reached the summit of Mount Everest at 8,850 meters. Among the summiteers was also Nima Jangmu Sherpa, the first Nepali woman to scale Everest and neighboring Lhotse in one season. She had also been part of the Mingma-led team that had succeeded the first eight-thousander summit success of the spring season on 29 April on Lhotse.

Date

14. May 2018 | 13:14

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Everest and Co.: Summit successes and a sad news

South side of Mount Everest

Mount Everest was scaled for the first time in this spring season. Today, eight climbers from Nepal reached the highest point at 8,850 meters after climbing up on the south side of the mountain. Pasang Tenjing Sherpa, Pasdawa Sherpa, Lakpa Dendi Sherpa, Jen Jen Lama, Siddi Bahadur Tamang, Pemba Chhiri Sherpa, Tenzing Gyaljen Sherpa and Datuk Bhote fixed ropes up to the summit, paving the way for the clients of the commercial expedition teams.

Date

13. May 2018 | 17:11

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40 years ago: The first German on top of Everest

Reinhard Karl (1946-1982)

This coming weekend, the first summit successes of the spring season on Mount Everest are expected. So Mingma Gyalje Sherpa, expedition leader and head of the operator “Imagine”, who is known as an early starter, is aiming for Sunday as summit day with his five Chinese clients. The group wanted to climb to Camp 3 at 7,200 meters today. Exactly 40 years ago, the first German climber stood on the 8,850 meter-high summit of Mount Everest. “Oswald and I overcome the last steps arm in arm. We are on the top. We fling our arms around our necks. It’s twelve noon. Our wishes have come true, just below the sky,” Reinhard Karl later wrote about the moment on 11 May 1978, when he reached the highest point together with the Austrian Oswald Oelz. The two belonged to an Austrian expedition led by Wolfgang Nairz. Three days earlier Reinhold Messner and Peter Habeler had succeeded their historic first ascent without bottled oxygen. Karl and Oelz used breathing masks.

Date

11. May 2018 | 11:01

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Everest ski permit – a farce!

Puzzling ski permit

You would normally not come up with this. If you climb Mount Everest and at some point want to put on your skis, you need a special permit. The 20-year-old American Matt Moniz and his mentor, the 49-year-old Argentine Willie Benegas, had to experience this. Citing sources at the Nepalese Ministry of Tourism, the newspaper “Himalayan Times” reports that the two climbers are now threatened with being deprived of their permission to climb Everest and Lhotse this spring. However, everything had started so well. “After ten years dreaming about it, it happened! Managed to ski from Camp 3 (on) Everest (at) 7,200 meters to Camp 2 (at) 6.400m,” said Benegas. “Not much difficulty but definitely good eyes needed to read the terrain, catching an ice patch would be a bad thing to happen!”  Matt and Willie did not suspect that they had scated on their descent on thin bureaucratic ice.

Date

9. May 2018 | 10:23

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40 years ago: Messner and Habeler without breathing mask on Everest

Habeler (r.) and Messner (in 1975)

It was a real pioneering act – greater than its effect. Next Tuesday, 40 years ago, the South Tyrolean Reinhold Messner and the North Tyrolean Peter Habeler were the first people to reach the 8,850-meter-high summit of Mount Everest without bottled oxygen. They proved that it was possible. However, it did not become usual thereby. According to the climbing chronicle Himalayan Database, the highest mountain in the world has been scaled 8,219 times so far, but only 202 times without breathing mask. This corresponds to a share of 2.5 percent. Also this year it will hardly be higher.

Date

5. May 2018 | 22:03

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